SUBARU CONFIDENT DESPITE THRUXTON WITHDRAWAL
Works team predicts upturn in form despite Hampshire woe
Technical boffins of the factory Subaru team in the British Touring Car Championship are expecting a step forward in pace at Oulton Park in June, despite being forced to withdraw from last Sunday’s races at Thruxton.
The team made changes to the fuel system of the four estate-shaped Levorg models going in to the third meeting of the season in Hampshire last weekend. It was prompted after James Cole’s example erupted in flames at Donington Park in April after a fuel leak.
Colin Turkington qualified his example 13th at Thruxton, with Jason Plato’s machine in 21st, team owner and driver Warren Scott in 28th and Cole in 29th.
However, investigations after the qualifying session revealed that the changes the team had made to the car were not sufficient to guarantee the problem would not happen again. They were withdrawn.
BMR team manager Alan Cole said: “Everyone within the team had made the best effort to fix the issue we thought we had but we were not confident with the nature of the problem that we have and the nature of the circuit here at Thruxton.
“We looked at the cars in depth after qualifying because we had the issue, which concerns the fuel rail. When we looked, it was showing the same signs as it had at Donington, so we took the decision to pull out.”
Cole said that, despite the problem, there were other options to explore to solve the issue. “What we had at Thruxton was only one solution, but there are a couple of other options to assess so we will be looking at those,” he said. ‘We will be doing durability tests before Oulton Park at the start of June [4/5] and we fully expect it to be resolved by then.”
Plato backed the decision to stand down. He said: “Through the three races and four cars, there would have been 12 potential incidents when it could have gone wrong. We didn’t want to take that risk.”
The team has targeted a step forward in performance during the next rounds, with Plato saying that he expects the Levorg to “turn a corner” in regards to its speed.
The championship’s technical working group has approved a revised inlet manifold for the flat four-cylinder motor that will improve speed – and the team will have it in place for Oulton.
The car’s designer, Carl Faux, said that the team is aiming to have the upgrade on all four of its cars. Faux said: “We are scheduled to have the new part on the Tuesday before Oulton Park. It has been driven by [engine tuner] Mountune and it should represent a significant step forward.”
Plato said that the tweak, allied to the regular evaluation of boost levels, will give the Subaru a chance to fight for podiums from the next meeting: “I have every confidence that once the BTCC technical experts have looked at the straightline speed of the cars and done their calculations, then we will be given the tools we need to fight.
“It is clear to us that there is nothing wrong with the chassis, we are just lacking boost and that, along with the manifold which will help us to use the boost we are given, will see us take a significant step towards the front.”
Faux says cars will get Oulton upgrade Plato backed the decision not to race
James Cole’s car caught alight at Donington Park